The settlement of the West was a major event in the development of our nation. The pioneer spirit of adventure, determination and pursuit of a better life typified the character of the people traveling westward. Special among these pioneers were the men who established trading posts, building settlements and guiding their chosen localities into the 20th century.
This building was contracted to be built by William Cressler and John Bonner to replace their original log trading post which is today housed in Cedarville's Park.
Constructed in 1883-84, the Cressler and Bonner Building dominates Main Street in Cedarville. Made of locally fired brick, the walls are 28 inches thick and have steel shuttered doors and windows on the first floor which were manufactured in San Francisco and served to make the building virtually fireproof. The interior of the building houses the first elevator in Modoc County. It is a chain driven, hand cranked elevator which still works today nearly 130 years later. Parts of the building's interior exhibit the old art form of feather painting, where the lower quality wood was painted using feathers to look like a more exotic wood. The first floor housed a dry goods, hardware and grocery store, plus the offices of the two men. The second floor held a pool hall and a Knights of Pythias Lodge. It is Modoc County's oldest commercial building still in use commercially today. The total cost was $18,000.
Cressler went before the 20th session of the California Senate and Assembly requesting a new county be established from parts of Lassen and Siskiyou Counties (Assembly bill 187). The bill passed and Cressler became the first state legislator from Modoc County in 1874.
Located at the juncture of the Lassen and Applegate Emmigrant Trails, it was a welcome sight to pioneers having just crossed the deserts of Nevada. The Cressler-Bonner Trading Post grew and the men established the first bank in Modoc County in the building. The vault is located in the southern most room in the building. Bonner layed out the township of Cedarville and became its first postmaster. He also built the road over what is now called Cedar Pass.
Today the building houses a bookstore and restaurant, with other spaces available for rent. It is essentially unchanged from the time of its original construction. Walking around and into the building is like going back to a time when horse drawn freight wagons rumbling down Main Street,a 1,000 pounds of flour cost $17.50 and coffee was 35 cents a pound.